Jim Lauderdale, John Moreland | SPACE | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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Jim Lauderdale, John Moreland 

When: Thu., May 14, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $15-$35
Even by the standards of Nashville, where songwriters churn out material for popular singers with machinelike efficiency, Jim Lauderdale is wildly prolific, not to mention successful—the likes of George Strait, Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, and Patty Loveless have scored with his tunes. Yet he’s not merely an agile, versatile tunesmith, but also an accomplished and productive singer: last year’s 20-track effort I’m a Song (Sky Crunch) is his 26th album since 1991. Over the years Lauderdale’s explored different areas of country tradition—he’s worked with bluegrass great Ralph Stanley, teamed up with great honky-tonk revisionist Buddy Miller, and collaborated with progressive roots band Donna the Buffalo. On top of that, he’s crafted some indelible hooks worthy of the pop charts, deftly folding strains of soul, blues, and gospel into the mix. The latest record moves from Bakersfield twang to delicate waltzes to rockabilly to 70s-style country rock to jazz-worthy ballads, featuring cowriters as diverse as Elvis Costello, John Oates, and Bobby Bare in addition to his frequent collaborator (and onetime Grateful Dead lyricist) Robert Hunter. It’s too bad Lauderdale doesn’t have the image to become a major star—the loud prints on his shirts can’t have helped—but that’s only meant he’s had more time to come up with killer melodies. —Peter Margasak

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